Looking for the best air fryer to buy? After years of extensive research and hands-on testing dozens of these small appliances, we can confidently say that the Philips Premium Airfryer XXL(available at Amazon for $266.99) is our top pick for your kitchen.
Its results are closest to using a deep fryer, making crispy, juicy foods, without the extra calories or trans fats. Plus, like many air fryers, it includes dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleanup.
For tight budgets, our best value is the Cosori Air Fryer Max XL 5.8-Quart (available at Amazon). It cooks food evenly at a low price.
Air fryers have become a popular, healthy alternative for making crispy chicken wings, french fries, tasty desserts, and easily frying frozen foods at the push of a button. Manufacturers have even started incorporating the technology into other kitchen appliances including full-size ovens. Or they can be found doing double-duty with pressure cookers or toaster ovens.
If you're looking to save kitchen counter space, we recommend the Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven (available at Amazon). Like all top-performing air fryers, it successfully circulates hot air around your food, but also has all the functionality of a great toaster oven, too.
These are the best air fryers we tested ranked, in order:
Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
Cosori Air Fryer Max XL 5.8-Quart
Cuisinart Digital AirFryer Toaster Oven
Cuisinart Compact AirFryer
Dash Deluxe 6-Quart
Ninja Air Fryer
Ninja Foodi OP301
Breville Smart Oven Air
GoWise 8-in-1 Air Fryer XL 5.9-Quart
Philips Premium Airfryer XXL
The Philips Airfryer XXL was the most user-friendly appliance we tested, making it our top pick.
During testing, I tasted a ton of french fries, and this appliance made the ones that I couldn’t stop noshing on. They had the perfect combination of crispy crunchiness, tenderness, and potato flavor—even when I loaded the basket with more than three pounds of them.
The battered Nashville hot chicken tenders I made finished with a crackling crust as if they’d been deep-fried, and hamburgers tasted like they were made on the grill.
This appliance was consistently the very best at air frying, even with large family-size portions of healthier fried foods. Plus, it's a well-built machine and easy to use—no preheating is required. If you really love fried food without the fat, the Philips is definitely worth the investment.
That said, it’s a big, heavy machine that’s noisier than most of its competitors while operating. And with no digital control panel, it’s hard to set cooking times and temperatures precisely.
With a few more parts than most other models, there’s more to clean. Fortunately, all the parts are dishwasher safe. Just note that it will eat up considerable shelf and counter space. But the results are worth the payoff.
An easy-to-read recipe book with lots of cooking ideas is also included.
The Cosori Premium 5.8-Quart rivals the Philips XXL for air frying prowess, at a much lower price, making it our Best Value pick. In testing, two pounds of frozen crinkle fries came out well-browned and crispy.
The appliance is big and boxy, but still looks better than most. It has digital controls with preset cooking programs that actually work well. While a manual preheat is required before selecting a setting, the appliance includes a helpful beep halfway through cooking to remind you to shake or rearrange your air-fried food.
It takes a little bit of effort to pull out and replace the air fryer baskets, especially the inner basket. You have to slide a small safety cover and then depress a button before lifting it out. After cooking you can chuck both pieces into the dishwasher. The Cosori comes with a paperback cookbook packed with tasty-looking recipes and color photos.
This is our top choice for a multipurpose appliance that not only air fries but has all the versatility that comes with a toaster oven. Everything we “fried” cooked up brown and crispy, including batter-fried chicken that came out as crunchy as those fast-food wings and tenders that come in a bucket. Bread toasted exceptionally evenly and matched the shade we selected from pale but dry to dark but not black. When baking, we got great results when we reduced the time and oven temperature to prevent over-browning.
The digital Cuisinart is among the more expensive air fryer toaster ovens on the market but it’s handsome and has digital controls with pre-programmed settings for air frying. For bake and pizza, there’s an automatic preheat; no preheating is required for air frying.
This model isn’t as wide as a typical toaster oven, so it won’t take up as much countertop space. While it is taller, it will fit under a standard cabinet. Despite its relatively compact size, it’s large enough to accommodate three pounds of fries, six slices of bread, and a four-pound roast chicken. With a low setting for slow cooking and braising, as well as dehydrating and proofing modes, it gives a lot of versatility for the money.
The interior has a nonstick coating and the air fryer basket and baking pan can be tossed in the dishwasher. Cuisinart provides a helpful manual complete with cooking charts and appealing recipes as well as a quick reference guide that stores in a slot in the bottom of the oven so it’s easy to find when needed.
To read our reviews of other multipurpose air fryer ovens we tested—including Gourmia Digital Oven, Yedi Total Package, Emeril Power AirFryer 360 Plus, and Cosori Smart Air Fryer Toaster Oven—see our guide to the top Air Fryer Toaster Ovens.
Hi, I'm Sharon Franke, and I’ve been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than 30 years. Before that, I worked as a professional chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. Now I’m an avid home cook.
While I’ve made French fries and pan-fried chicken breast cutlets countless times, they’re not in heavy rotation in my house these days. Just like you, I want to avoid the oil and all that work that comes with frying. That’s why I was thrilled to test whether air fryers could satisfy my hankerings for crispy food, fat- and fuss-free.
To find the top performers, we rated each appliance on how well it cooked fresh (from scratch) and frozen French fries and chicken nuggets, as well as how well each model grilled hamburgers.
Since each appliance is unique and there are all types of air fryers on the market now, you’ll be relying on the manual to get started. I checked to see if each explained how to use the product thoroughly, provided guidelines for cooking specific foods, and included recipes.
I also considered how easy it was to use the controls (for both manual and digital air fryers), slide the basket in and out, and clean up.
As you may not use this appliance daily, I also checked to see how easy it would be to store and stash away.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
For starters, it's not actually a fryer, but rather a convection oven that includes a heating element and a fan that circulates hot air around foods in a basket. Using at most a half-tablespoon of cooking oil, the appliance will brown and crisp up food. However, it doesn't always deliver the same combination of all-over crunchiness and perfect tenderness as frying in oil.
These appliances don't require more than a few minutes to preheat, so they deliver the goods faster than deep-frying. Plus, during testing, we discovered they didn’t emit any cooking odors, so your house won't smell like a chicken shack.
How to Use an Air Fryer
These devices are easy to use and often easy to clean. Always check the manufacturer's instructions, but most will follow these basic procedures:
1. Preheat before cooking
Many air fryers need time to come to temperature before cooking. In general, preheat to 375°F for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the fryer.
2. Don’t overcrowd the food and lay food down flat
Just like conventional frying, overloading your air fryer—especially with frozen foods—could produce soggy or uneven results. Plus, it could also increase the cooking time.
3. Flip while frying
Don't forget to batter and/or bread items properly before dropping them into the air fryer, and be sure to flip your food halfway through the cooking process.
Also, keep an eye on your food while it cooks. This will let you adjust timing as necessary and help get you used to your new appliance.
4. Clean the air fryer when you're done
Don’t forget to clean the appliance after cooking and the device has cooled down. Food particles can get lodged in the nooks and crannies, building up over time and causing issues down the line.
What Can I Cook in an Air Fryer?
There are so many great air fryer recipes (especially for families)! These appliances can do everything from bake, broil and help cook meats, casseroles, or even desserts. They are, of course, limited by their size and don’t offer any advantage over a traditional oven. But if you need an extra oven or don’t want to heat the kitchen, these countertop appliances are helpful.
Some popular air fryre recipes include:
Roasting vegetables like potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and squash
Meat dishes, such as battered chicken, bacon, burgers, and hot dogs
Frozen foods like chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, tater tots, onion rings, and french fries
Baked goods such as donuts, fritters, and funnel cake
Other Air Fryers We Tested
Cuisinart Compact AirFryer
Unlike most of these appliances, the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer isn’t shaped like a huge egg or space capsule. Rather it’s a big stainless-steel cube that looks like a truncated toaster oven. While its boxy shape fits more neatly on a countertop, it still takes up a bit of countertop real estate (in spite of its name).
The Cuisinart is relatively uncomplicated. It doesn’t have preset programs for specific foods or additional functions like “keep warm” or “dehydrate”. You simply turn dials to set the temperature and the cooking time, with no need to preheat. The straightforward manual includes recipes to get you started.
Its wide air frying basket allows food to spread out for more even, crispy results with relatively quick cooking times. Using the Cuisinart Compact AirFryer, homemade fries looked and tasted like they had been bobbing in a deep fryer vat of oil.
Neither the stainless-steel basket nor the drip pan is dishwasher safe. If you're making drippy battered items like tempura shrimp or onion rings, it’s not always easy to clean. However, if you’re looking for an appliance that air fries well without an exorbitant price, this Cuisinart is well worth your consideration.
Food comes out browned and crispy from the Dash Deluxe 6-Quart Air Fryer as long as you don’t overload it. Although it’s a 6-quart model, the basket's small diameter holds less food in one layer than the larger models I tested.
While the Dash doesn’t include digital controls, it's still very simple to operate. Simply turn the temperature and time dials in an intuitive, two-step process. If you’re tired of boring-looking appliances, the Dash comes in glossy red or aqua as well as white and black.
Even though you have to hand wash the baskets, they're nonstick and easy to get clean.
The Ninja performed so well, you could have convinced me that both the breaded and battered chicken was fried in a cast iron skillet.
French fries came close to the real thing. However, they didn’t have quite the crunch that you get from a deep fryer or the Philips, which can even crisp up a whole bag of frozen fries at once. However, the Ninja is about a quarter of the price of the Philips and is nowhere near as big or heavy.
On the Ninja, you’ll find digital temperature controls and settings for reheating, roasting, and dehydrating. More options make for more complicated controls, but you’ll soon master the necessary steps. The nonstick basket can be washed in the dishwasher, too. It also includes a stainless-steel rack for multilevel cooking.
I admit I had a healthy dose of skepticism towards the Ninja Foodi, an appliance that's also a pressure cooker and slow cooker.
Incredibly, all its functions work well. In fact, it cooked the crunchiest, most well-browned results in our cook-off, plus it pressure-cooks as well as any appliance I’ve ever tested.
If you like, you can even combine the functions, pressure cooking a chicken and then air-frying it to brown and crisp the skin. Additional programs let you broil, dehydrate, steam, slow cook, and sauté, making the Foodi the most versatile multicooker on the market. One thing of note: During air frying mode, it’s noisier than most.
As you would expect with so many options, it takes a little practice to get a hang of programming the digital control panel. However, the screen is well-designed with large, easy-to-read lettering.
The Foodi is space-saving compared to owning both an air fryer and a multi-cooker. But it’s still a large, heavy appliance that's not easy to store.
Considering the multi-functionality of this machine, I wish its cookbook was better organized and had recipes and charts for all of the cooking settings. The basket and the pot are nonstick and dishwasher safe, but the lids require TLC.
This little guy is just so darn cute you can’t help loving it. The Dash Compact does a decent job of “frying” as long as you confine it to about a half-pound of food at a time. No preheating is required, but for best results, the food should be tossed and turned several times during cooking.
With its dial temperature controls, you can’t set the Dash precisely. For the most part, the manual is helpful and even includes a few recipes, but some of the temperatures specified in the charts and recipes are different from the ones printed on the machine. The dial also doesn't have precise temperature markings.
The nonstick basket is small enough to go in the dishwasher without hogging too much space. Like the bigger model, the Dash Compact has a glossy exterior in red, aqua, white, or black.
You pay top dollar for the handsome brushed stainless-steel Breville Smart Oven Air. But you also get a state-of-the-art toaster oven along with your air fryer. It consistently turned out crispy food and chicken nuggets that tasted like they were deep-fried. The digital temperature controls are intuitive to program and include automatic pre-heat. The Breville also has a bright oven light.
It’s large even by toaster oven standards, and can truly replace your oven. You don’t even need special toaster oven-sized cookware. Breville even claims it can accommodate a 14-pound turkey.
I do have one major quibble with this product. The manual doesn’t contain any instructions on how to cook various foods.
This may not be a problem for baking or roasting. But if you’re new to air frying, you’re on your own getting started. Also, all of the parts require hand washing.
The GoWise 8-in-1 performs well and has some nice advantages. In addition to its large capacity, the digital controls have eight preprogrammed settings and an alarm that can remind you to toss food during cooking.
It doesn’t require preheating and the nonstick basket is dishwasher safe. The GoWise also includes a cookbook with lots of recipe ideas. In addition to black and white, this model comes in red and purple, too.
We've always loved Instant Pot. But if you've never used an air fryer before, we can't recommend the Instant Vortex Plus (available at Walmart). Its "Getting Started Guide" wasn’t very helpful. We also found cooking with the included tray yielded better results than the basket the manufacturer suggested using. Still, if you don't mind a lot of trial and error, this device can produce solid results.
We've reviewed a few Krups models. We like the Krups Easy Fry Deluxe Digital (available at Amazon) a bit better than the Krups Fry Delight thanks to its design and cooking results. However, neither are very close to mimicking the crispiness of food that came out of a traditional deep fryer.
Farberware 3.2 quart Digital Oil-Less Fryer (available at Amazon) is very inexpensive and does a decent job of crisping and browning, especially with frozen foods. However, the basket sticks and it's a little confusing to use.
The generic-looking Power Air XL (available at Amazon) has a small capacity, and its basket doesn't glide out very smoothly.
The Black and Decker 2L Purifry (available at Amazon) is a big appliance, but comes with a much smaller basket. With no digital controls and tiny numbers, it's really difficult to set your temperature precisely.
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